Puerto Ricans are mostly Christian. In a 2014 Pew Research Center study of religion in Latin America, the majority (56 percent) of Puerto Ricans residing on the island identified as Catholic. And 33% identified as Protestants, with almost half (48%) also identifying as born-again Christians. Other religions are less than 5% each.
In addition to these three main groups, there are also many people who claim no religious identity at all (24%).
Although most Puerto Ricans are Christian, some churches have members from more than one faith group. For example, one church might have an Episcopal priest and a Baptist pastor. Another may have a Catholic priest and a synagogue minister. Some churches have a single pastor who serves several different denominations within the church community until his or her replacement is found.
In terms of theology, most Puerto Rican Christians believe in God and Jesus Christ and follow certain biblical practices such as praying, giving money to help the poor, and fasting during times of hardship. They differ from Catholics in that Protestant churches do not have bishops who govern local communities. Instead, each congregation votes on major issues before them. Representatives from several churches can form a board which governs the single parish.
There are two main branches of Protestantism in Puerto Rico: Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism.
The CIA 85 percent According to the World Factbook, 85 percent of Puerto Ricans are Catholic, with the other 15 percent belonging to Protestantism, Islam, or Judaism.
Puerto Rico became a United States territory in 1803. About one-quarter of its 3 million people live in San Juan alone. The other two-thirds live on the island of Puerto Rico.
Catholicism was brought to Puerto Rico by Spanish colonists. In the early years after the colony was established, most Puerto Rican Christians were mixed race - half white, half African American - known as "mulattos." Since then, most Puerto Rican Catholics have been entirely white.
After the U.S. took control of Puerto Rico, many native-born Puerto Ricans refused to become citizens of the United States and continued to be allowed to stay as non-citizens. These "Boricua" peoples include Mexicans, Cubans, and others from Latin America who had come to work on the plantations and in the cities. Today, almost all Puerto Ricans are either citizens or legal residents - there are only about 80,000 non-citizen residents remaining.
According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, you are five times more likely to see a priest than a rabbi on Guam.
In Puerto Rico, Roman Catholicism is so ubiquitous that every community has at least one Catholic church. Protestantism is the second most popular religion in Puerto Rico, with 25.1 percent of the population claiming to be members of a Protestant denomination.
Catholicism first arrived in what would become Puerto Rico in 1511, when Spanish explorer Diego de la Vega built a chapel on an island he named San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist). The first permanent European-built church was constructed in 1626 by colonists from the Canary Islands. That church still stands today in San Juan and is known as Iglesia Parroquial de Santo Domingo (Parish Church of St. Dominic).
Over the years, many more churches have been built, some of which are very impressive structures. In fact, there are more than 7,000 churches in Puerto Rico. This makes it the country with the most churches per person after Israel. However, only about 1 percent of these churches are active Catholics who go to Mass on a regular basis.
There are two reasons why so many churches are built in Puerto Rico. First, under Spanish law, all Spaniards were allowed to build a church on their property. So, if you were rich and wanted to show off your status, you could build a huge church with hundreds of priests serving hundreds of people daily.
Recent stats show that 76.3 percent of Costa Ricans identify as Catholic. Another 13.7% are Evangelical Christians, 1.3 percent are Jehovah's Witnesses, and 0.7 percent are Protestant Christians. The remaining 8% are either atheists (3.2%) or members of other faiths (4.8%), including Mormonism, Judaism, and Islam.
Costa Rica is a very religious country with Catholics making up nearly 80 percent of the population. Other important facts about religion in Costa Rica include:
The majority of the population is Catholic - 76.3%. There are also many evangelical Christians living in Costa Rica. 13.7% of the population is made up of Evangelicals while only 1.3% are Jehovah's Witnesses. Finally, 0.7% of the population is Protestant Christian.
Almost all citizens (96%) identify themselves as Catholic, although few attend church regularly. Evangelicals are the most likely to say they attend worship services regularly (28%). The proportion who say they believe in God has fallen over time - currently at 83%.
Nearly half of all adults (46%) consider themselves spiritual but not religious; another 26% are neither spiritual nor religious. Only 14% are completely secular.
In terms of importance, religion is equally divided among those who say religion is important for them (to do good and avoid sin) and those who say it's important for life after death.
Puerto Rico is a highly Christian place, even by American standards. Catholicism was the island's official religion for four centuries, from Christopher Columbus' landing in 1493 until the end of the Spanish-American War. Since then, it has been an independent country called "Portugal America". Christians of all denominations make up more than 90 percent of the population.
Catholicism came to Puerto Rico with the first Spanish colonists. It quickly became the most popular faith among the island's people, although estimates range from 70 to 99 percent of Puerto Ricans are now Christian (mostly Catholic). Other significant groups include Protestants who account for about 7 percent of the population and Jews who number about 1,000 people or less.
Christianity arrived in Puerto Rico along with the Spanish colonizers in 1493. The first churches were built in San Germán on the site where today's Cathedral stands. Soon others were built across the island. The last one was demolished in 1854 in San Juan after the creation of La Capital de Puerto Rico. Because there were no other religious institutions at the time, this one functioned as both cathedral and town hall. It was also the largest building in Puerto Rico at the time.
During the period when the Spanish Empire was ruled from Mexico City, the majority of the priests were Mexican.